About Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald
At a mere 20 years old in 1971. Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald began her publicity career as a publicity assistant at Columbia Records in Hollywood, CA. Since that time, she has worked both in record company publicity departments and as an independent PR consultant.
From 1973 to 1980, initially at the direction of then Warner Bros. Records executives Billie Wallington and the legendary Stan Cornyn, Robinson-Fitzgerald developed what evolved into a record industry staple - tour publicity. During her time at Warners, she spent eight to ten months a year on the road handling tour PR and local television news for the label’s artists that included Van Halen, the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers, America, Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull, Shaun Cassidy and the one and only Sex Pistols U.S. tour in 1978.
She went independent for the first time in 1981, launching her own PR firm with the Beach Boys and Rod Stewart as initial clients, then added to her roster Ratt (Out of the Cellar/1983), the children’s entertainer Raffi, Barry Manilow (If I Should Love Again/1981), Black Sabbath (Heaven and Hell/1980, Mob Rules/1981), and John [Cougar] Mellencamp (1982’s American Fool), among others.
In 1985, Robinson-Fitzgerald sold her company to publicist Michael Jensen and joined Jensen Communications as Vice President/Account Executive. She spent five years there working with Santana, illusionist David Copperfield, Raffi, Van Halen (5150 album and tour/1986), and Jane’s Addiction (Nothing’s Shocking/1988 and Ritual de lo Habitual/1990).
She left Jensen Communications in 1990 and returned to record company life when Rick Rubin asked her to start a publicity department for his Def American Recordings. Robinson-Fitzgerald developed and implemented the PR campaigns for The Black Crowes (Shake Your Money Maker/1990 and The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion/1992), Johnny Cash (American Recordings/1994 and Unchained/1996), Donovan (Sutras/1996), the Jayhawks (Hollywood Town Hall/1992), Tomorrow the Green Grass/1995), Sir Mix-A-Lot (Mack Daddy/1992), Return of the Bumpasaurus/1996), Slayer (Seasons in the Abyss/1990), Decade of Aggression/1991, Divine Intervention/1994, Live Intrusion/1995, Undisputed Attitude/1996, Danzig (Danzig II: Lucifuge/1990, Danzig III: How the Gods Kill/1992, Thrall: Demonsweatlive/1993), Danzig 4/1994, Danzig 5: Blackacidevil/1996) and the Jesus and Mary Chain (Honey’s Dead/1992, Stoned & Dethroned/1994), as well as all of Rubin’s press. During this time, she was asked to handle the PR campaign for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1991 breakthrough album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
While heading up Def American’s PR department, Robinson-Fitzgerald also spearheaded the publicity campaigns for the original Lollapalooza touring festivals - 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1995. For the 1995 Lollapalooza PR campaign, she broke ground by having Lollapalooza be the first national tour to offer the media campaign assets on the Internet. She also served as a PR consultant for the 1996 and 1997 festivals. Jane’s Addiction brought her back in 1997 to handle the PR for their “Relapse” project which consisted of the Kettle Whistle album and tour that featured the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea on bass.
In 1993, Rick Rubin found out that the word “def” had been added to Webster’s Dictionary, so decided to drop the word from his company’s name. He had Robinson-Fitzgerald create an event that was reminiscent of the music industry’s 1970’s glory days - a full-blown funeral to put “def” to rest. On behalf of Rubin, Robinson-Fitzgerald purchased a plot and coffin at the Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery (now the Hollywood Forever Cemetery), rented the facility’s chapel, and flew in the Rev. Al Sharpton who delivered a rousing and passionate eulogy to “def.” Warner Bros. Records Chairman Mo Ostin was a pall bearer alongside the Geto Boys’ Bushwick Bill; Johnny Cash and Andrew Dice Clay sent floral arrangements; the Amazing Kreskin, Tom Petty and Roseanna Arquette attended, and all 500 guests walked in the funeral procession behind a New Orleans funeral marching band and a 19th century horse-drawn hearse that carried the coffin to the graveside.
From 1998 to 2000, Robinson-Fitzgerald set up and ran the first publicity department at Maverick Records, handling the PR campaigns for the Deftones (White Pony/2000), the soundtrack to “The Matrix”/1999, and the U.S. major label debut of the UK-based rock band Muse (Showbiz/1999), among other projects. During her two years at the label, she was instrumental in putting Maverick’s artists into cyberspace by regularly obtaining high-profile editorial exposure on Internet destinations of the day, and by working with the company’s developing New Media department to build a publicity assets area on Maverick’s website.
Robinson-Fitzgerald returned to the indie world in 2000, restarting her own PR company. Clients included the Deftones, System of a Down (Toxicity/2001), Slayer (God Hates Us All/2001), and Marc Geiger’s visionary and ground-breaking internet company, ARTISTdirect.
Robinson-Fitzgerald spent 2001 - 2003 running the publicity department at ARTISTdirect, working closely with Marc Geiger and Ted Field, but in 2003, returned to the independent consultant world to stay.
Since 2003, as an independent, she has created and implemented media campaigns for System of A Down (Steal This Album/2002, Mezmerize/2005), the Pixies (2004’s reunion tour, all tours through 2019, Indie Cindy/2014, Head Carrier/2016, and Beneath The Eyrie/2019), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers/25th anniversary and Petty’s solo Highway Companion/2006), Johnny Cash (American V: A Hundred Highways/2006, American VI: Ain’t No Grave/2010), June Carter Cash (Anchored In Love/2007), Anvil (This Is Thirteen/2009), Danzig (Black Aria II/2006, The Lost Tracks of Danzig/2007, Deth Red Sabaoth/2010), Slayer (Christ Illusion/2006, World Painted Blood/2009, Repentless/2015), and the band's 2018-19 Final World Tour, Anthrax (Worship Music/2011, For All Kings/2016), Ministry (The Last Sucker/2007, Cover Up/2008, Adios…Putas Madres/2009), AmeriKKKant (2018), X Japan (U.S. debut at Lollapalooza, first North American tour/2010), The Devil Wears Prada (With Roots Above and Branches Below/2009, Zombie EP/2010, Dead Throne/2011, Space EP/2015, Transit Blues/2016, Greta Van Fleet, all press from 2017 - 2021, (Black Smoke Rising From the Fires EPs/2017, the 2018 debut album Anthem of the Peaceful Army), and the initial set up for the band's 2021 Battle at Garden's Gate; Ghost (campaigns for Prequelle's hit rock singles "Dance Macabre" and "Faith," the Seven Inches of Satanic Panic lost vinyl 7-inch, and the Fall 2018 and 2019 U.S. tours), exploding rockers Dirty Honey (from 2019), Finland's cello-rock band Apocalyptica (2020), and producer Rick Rubin (from 1989).
Even after more than all these years, Robinson-Fitzgerald still loves being a publicist and is of the opinion that the times we are living in today just have to be as exciting and innovative as were the days during the Industrial Revolution.